The Ghost of Christmas Present

When we talk about traditional Christmas, images of turkey, mince pies, presents, and Christmas crackers often come to mind. However, this has not always been, and may not always be the case. Over the course of 3 blog posts, we look at the Christmases of the past, present, and the potential future to look at how this festive period has evolved and may continue to evolve.

Ah, Christmas – the most wonderful time of the year. For many it’s a time of relative excess: food, presents, alcohol, loving company, and good spirits (well, until the board games come out).

Yet this year, Christmas has once again been under threat, and I don’t just mean from Omicron. There’s been headline after headline on expected shortages (food, fuel, electronics…) and price hikes – the perfect picture of doom and gloom. If last year many couldn’t sit around the table with family, would this be the year that they sit at a table without a turkey?

Greg’s history lesson reminds us that whilst Christmas is steeped with tradition, it’s also a holiday that’s known as much change as it has continuity. Covid has forced all of us to adapt – how we work, how we socialise, how we travel – so it’s no surprise then that it might also encourage new habits around December 25th. Add in Brexit and COP26, and there are lots of reasons why our festive season might look a little different this year and beyond! Here are three predictions for what we might see happening this year:

  1. Plant-based spreads

Supermarkets have rapidly been growing their plant-based Christmas options: M&S’s Vegan Turkey Roast and Vegan Beef Wellington, Lidl’s Deluxe Vegan Garland, and Waitrose’s ‘No Pigs in Blankets’. The Metro recently reported that searches for vegan Christmas recipes are up 83% this year. Whilst these alternatives are unlikely to replace the traditional meat joints, we expect Christmas spreads to have more diversity this year. The interim period between Christmas & New Year when people are feeling overly heavy and meaty might be the perfect opportunity to try something new – especially before Veganuary!

  1. A greener outfit choice

Some recent research by Hubbub found that more than 7 million adults are planning to buy a new piece of party-season clothing this year. But with many wanting to have a more sustainable Christmas, consumers are being encouraged to re-wear or customize existing outfits. For those who really want something new, they might instead buy it second-hand or opt for the latest trend in fashion shopping – clothing rental. M&S has partnered with Hirestreet to offer up to £300 dresses for Christmas rental, making their partywear cheaper and greener this year.

  1. Experience-led presents

The wasteful aspect of Christmas is increasingly coming under the spotlight – not just due to food, decoration, and packaging but also because of all the unwanted, unnecessary stocking fillers, duplicate presents and gifts that you don’t need nor want! As an alternative to the accumulation of Christmas rubbish, we expect experience presents to be more popular this year e.g. cinema memberships, hotel vouchers, adventure days. Let novelty come from the dinner table, for example with Waitrose’s Camembert Garlic doughball wreath (but I suggest you swerve Sainsbury’s sushi-inspired Snowy blankets…).

So, whatever your Christmas looks like this year, we hope you can embrace the change and have a restful and joyful time!

By: Caroline Camm

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